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Faithful Is He

"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who will also do it." -1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 Paul's prayer for the people of Thessalonica was a heartfelt prayer for their permanent cleansing. "May God completely cleanse you and set you apart for His purposes... May He preserve you until Jesus comes again." Then Paul notes that …

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The Spiritual Mind

"For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." -Romans 8:6 Have you ever watched a dog protect its turf? A dog makes decisions based on instincts, which are natural inclinations built in by the dog's Creator. Human beings are different from the animal world in that we possess a soul, a will with which we make decisions. Nonetheless, we also have our own natural inclinations. Paul described our basic human nature with the word sarx which …

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No Man Like-Minded

"But I trust the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man like-minded, who will naturally care for your state." -Philippians 2:19-20 Paul knew of noone else in the world who would be as others-focused as Timothy. He qualified his recommendation of Timothy with these words, "For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's." Timothy was in a class by himself. The whole world …

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Cast Into the Fire

"The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father." -Matthew 13:41-43 Jesus is the gentle, compassionate Lamb of God. Angels are those cute little winged cherubs we have displayed on water fountains. But the picture Jesus …

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Preaching the Word

"But (God) hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Savior." -Titus 1:3 When preachers preach, they do so as frail and fallible human beings, holding forth the precious words of eternal life. There is, however, a sense in which the preacher communicates on God's behalf. Only when his words match the content or the intent of Scripture do they carry any heavenly authority, but when he faithfully …

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Compelling Compassion

"Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way." -Matthew 15:32 It is impossible for us to help everyone we want to help. Certainly Jesus felt this same frustration. Though He healed so many, He did not heal everyone in the world and though He fed thousands, He did not feed all the poor in His day. …

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Whom Do You Love?

"Love not the world... for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but of the world, and the world passeth away..." -1 John 2:15-17 Remember Louis Armstrong's great What A Wonderful World? Angie and I had that song played at our wedding. This truly is a wonderful world in many respects. It's the place where we view the glory of God in creation. This world is where Jesus came to minister and to …

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The Motivation of Sure Success

"But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." -1 Corinthians 15:57-58 When I was in Junior High, I had a Nintendo game system and a particular baseball game in which you could pre-program the statistics of your team to make them better. You were allowed a certain number of …

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Let the Word Have Its Way

"Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you." -2 Thessalonians 3:1 I must admit that few things in life are more exhilarating than preaching God's Word. That's how God has wired me, that my great passion in life would be to see people's hearts changed by the preaching of God's Word. But it isn't just public speaking that changes people - it is the powerful and supernatural Word of God that does so. …

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The Testing of the Heart

"The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the hearts." -Prov. 17:3 I have often said, even from the pulpit, that it is crises that shape the heart of a person, but I'm beginning to think differently about that. Rather, crises demonstrate the heart of a person. The heart is prepared in everyday life as we commune with Jesus. The trials and tests merely show openly what happens in the secret places of a person's heart. This refining, testing …

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